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Complete College Football Preview 2022

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

Top 25

1. Ohio State Buckeyes -- With a loaded offense and rebuilt defense, I'm picking Ohio State to claim their first National Title since 2014.

2. Alabama Crimson Tide -- The Tide suffered through a "rebuilding" 2021 and still nearly won a National Title. Expect the mighty Crimson Tide to be back with ferocity this fall.

3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish -- Brian Kelly may be in Baton Rouge, but the ever-consistent Irish shouldn't slow down anytime soon, especially with tight end Michael Mayer leading the offense.

4. Utah Utes -- The Utes were one of the best teams in the nation the final two months of the 2021 season and return their star QB and tailback to a loaded backfield.

5. Georgia Bulldogs -- Even with heavy losses on both sides of the ball, the Bulldogs won't take a major step-back. 

6. Clemson Tigers -- Expect a rebound from the Clemson Tigers, who may have the most physically imposing defensive front in college football, spearheaded by Myles Murphy and a healthy Bryan Bresee.

7. NC State Wolfpack -- With Devin Leary back under center and ten starters returning to the defense, it should be a special season in Raleigh.

8. Texas A&M Aggies -- This will be an important year in College Station for Jimbo and the Aggies. Will the nation's No. 1 recruiting class pay immediate dividends?

9. Arkansas Razorbacks -- One of the surprises of the 2021 season, don't expect the 'Hogs to slow down anytime soon. QB K.J. Jefferson has a chance to assert himself as one of the best in the SEC this year.

10. Oklahoma Sooners -- Even after a tumultuous offseason, the Sooners remain the most talented team in the Big 12 and the best bet to win the league.

11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons -- Sam Hartman's recent injury throws some chaos into the mix in Winston-Salem, but the Demon Deacons remain one of the best in the ACC.

12. Michigan Wolverines -- The Wolverines lose some major pieces on defense, but Jim Harbaugh's team features one of the most underrated RB combos in the nation in Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards.

13. USC Trojans -- Lincoln Riley has already injected some much-needed energy into the 'SC program, but it may take a year or two before things really get rolling.

14. Cincinnati Bearcats -- Gone is the winningest QB in school history and plenty from the defense, but the Bearcats remain the class of the Group of Five.

15. Miami Hurricanes -- The Hurricanes not only upgrade at head coach by bringing in alum Mario Cristobal, they have a rising superstar running the offense in Tyler Van Dyke.

16. Oregon Ducks -- There's a bit of uncertainty here as a new staff is ushered in, but the Ducks remain the best bet in the wide-open Big 12. 

17. Baylor Bears -- How will Baylor respond after their breakout 2021? It will help that they likely upgraded the QB position, with Blake Shapen set to run the show.

18. BYU Cougars -- BYU will miss Tyler Allgeier in the backfield, but Kalani Sitake has a consistent winner built in Provo.

19. Tennessee Volunteers -- Expect Hendon Hooker and the rest of the offense to light up scoreboards, but the defense will determine Tennessee's ceiling this fall.

20. Michigan State Spartans -- Was last season an aberration or a sign of things to come? Replacing Kenneth Walker III will be a pain, but the offense still has weapons aplenty.

21. Minnesota Golden Gophers -- P.J. Fleck has a veteran-laden offense and strong defense, but the play along the lines will determine whether the Gophers can break through and win the Big Ten West.

22. UCF Knights -- Gus Malzahn's team has some really fascinating pieces and should push Cincinnati for an AAC crown.

23. Wisconsin Badgers -- Braelon Allen is the next great Wisconsin tailback, but the Badgers need more from their passing attack if they are to reclaim the Big Ten West.

24. Oklahoma State Cowboys -- After coming within inches of a Big 12 Title and potential CFB Playoff appearance, Oklahoma State must reload on defense with new coordinator Derek Mason.

25. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers -- One of the nation's best quarterbacks, Grayson McCall, will make Coastal the team to beat in the improved Sun Belt.

Conference Predictions

ACC - Atlantic

1. Clemson Tigers (11-1, 8-0 ACC)

2. NC State Wolfpack (10-2, 6-2 ACC)

3. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (9-3, 5-3 ACC)

4. Florida State Seminoles (7-5, 4-4 ACC)

5. Boston College Eagles (7-5, 4-4 ACC)

6. Louisville Cardinals (5-7, 3-5 ACC)

7. Syracuse Orange (4-8, 2-6 ACC)

ACC - Coastal

1. Miami Hurricanes (9-3, 6-2 ACC)

2. North Carolina Tar Heels (8-4, 5-3 ACC)

3. Pittsburgh Panthers (8-4, 4-4 ACC)

4. Virginia Cavaliers (7-5, 4-4 ACC)

5. Virginia Tech Hokies (7-5, 3-5 ACC)

6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-10, 1-7 ACC)

7. Duke Blue Devils (3-9, 1-7 ACC)

Championship: Clemson over Miami

Big Ten - East

1. Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten)

2. Michigan Wolverines (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten)

3. Michigan State Spartans (9-3, 6-3 Big Ten)

4. Penn State Nittany Lions (8-4, 5-4 Big Ten)

5. Maryland Terrapins (7-5, 4-5 Big Ten)

6. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-8, 2-7 Big Ten)

7. Indiana Hoosiers (3-9, 1-8 Big Ten)

Big Ten - West

1. Minnesota Golden Gophers (9-3, 6-3 Big Ten)

2. Wisconsin Badgers (8-4, 5-4 Big Ten)

3. Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4, 5-4 Big Ten)

4. Purdue Boilermakers (7-5, 4-5 Big Ten)

5. Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-6, 4-5 Big Ten)

6. Northwestern Wildcats (6-6, 3-6 Big Ten)

7. Illinois Fighting Illini (5-7, 2-7 Big Ten)

Championship: Ohio State over Minnesota

Big 12

1. Oklahoma Sooners (10-2, 7-2 Big 12)

2. Baylor Bears (9-3, 6-3 Big 12)

3. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-4, 5-4 Big 12)

4. Kansas State Wildcats (8-4, 5-4 Big 12)

5. Texas Longhorns (7-5, 5-4 Big 12)

6. Iowa State Cyclones (7-5, 5-4 Big 12)

7. TCU Horned Frogs (7-5, 4-5 Big 12)

8. Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-7, 4-5 Big 12)

9. West Virginia Mountaineers (4-8, 3-6 Big 12)

10. Kansas Jayhawks (2-10, 0-9 Big 12)

Championship: Oklahoma over Baylor

Pac-12 - North

1. Oregon Ducks (9-3, 7-2 Pac-12)

2. Oregon State Beavers (8-4, 6-3 Pac-12)

3. Washington State Cougars (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12)

4. Washington Huskies (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12)

5. Stanford Cardinal (5-7, 4-5 Pac-12)

6. California Golden Bears (5-7, 3-6 Pac-12)

Pac-12 - South

1. Utah Utes (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12)

2. USC Trojans (9-3, 7-2 Pac-12)

3. UCLA Bruins (8-4, 5-4 Pac-12)

4. Arizona State Sun Devils (5-7, 3-6 Pac-12)

5. Arizona Wildcats (4-8, 2-7 Pac-12)

6. Colorado Buffaloes (2-10, 1-8 Pac-12)

Championship: Utah over USC*

SEC - East

1. Georgia Bulldogs (11-1, 7-1 SEC)

2. Tennessee Volunteers (8-4, 5-3 SEC)

3. Florida Gators (6-6, 4-4 SEC)

4. Kentucky Wildcats (8-4, 4-4 SEC)

5. South Carolina Gamecocks (6-6, 3-5 SEC)

6. Missouri Tigers (4-8, 1-7 SEC)

7. Vanderbilt Commodores (3-9, 0-8 SEC)

SEC - West

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0, 8-0 SEC)

2. Texas A&M Aggies (10-2, 6-2 SEC)

3. Arkansas Razorbacks (9-3, 5-3 SEC)

4. Ole Miss Rebels (8-4, 4-4 SEC)

5. Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4, 4-4 SEC)

6. LSU Tigers (7-5, 3-5 SEC)

7. Auburn Tigers (5-7, 2-6 SEC)

Championships: Alabama over Georgia

Group of Five

American Athletic: Cincinnati over UCF

Conference USA: UAB over Florida Atlantic

MAC: Central Michigan over Kent State

Mountain West: Fresno State over Boise State

Sun Belt: Coastal Carolina over South Alabama


Bronko Nagurski (Defensive Player of the Year): Will Anderson, Alabama (winner); Jalen Carter, Georgia (finalist); Deshawn Pace, Cincinnati (finalist)

Dick Butkus Award (Best LB): Will Anderson, Alabama (winner); Noah Sewell, Oregon (finalist); Deshawn Pace, Cincinnati (finalist)

Davey O'Brien (Best QB): C.J. Stroud, Ohio State (winner), Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma (finalist); Hendon Hooker, Tennessee (finalist)

Doak Walker Award (Best RB): Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama (winner); Will Shipley, Clemson (finalist); Frank Gore Jr., Southern Miss (finalist)

Frank Broyles Award (Top Assistant): Jeff Lebby, Oklahoma OC (winner); Jim Knowles, Ohio State DC (finalist); Barry Odom, Arkansas DC (finalist)

Fred Biletnikoff Award (Best WR): Marvin Mims, Oklahoma (winner); Josh Downs, North Carolina (finalist); Ryan O'Keefe, UCF (finalist)

Home Depot Award (Coach of the Year): Kyle Whittingham, Utah (winner); Dave Doeren, NC State (finalist); Sam Pittman, Arkansas (finalist)

Jim Thorpe Award (Best DB): Clark Phillips, Utah (winner); Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama (finalist); Kelee Ringo, Georgia (finalist)

John Mackey Award (Best TE): Michael Mayer, Notre Dame (winner); Brant Kuithe, Utah (finalist); Sam LaPorta, Iowa (finalist)

Lou Groza Award (Best K): Will Reichard, Alabama (winner); Noah Ruggles, Ohio State (finalist); Andres Borregales, Miami (finalist)

Ray Guy Award (Best P): Brad Robbins, Michigan (winner); Lou Hedley, Miami (finalist); Tom Hutton, Oklahoma State (finalist)

Heisman Trophy

1. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama (winner)

2. Dillon Gabriel, QB, Oklahoma (finalist)

3. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State (finalist)

4. Will Anderson, LB, Alabama (finalist)

5. Will Shipley, RB, Clemson 

6. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

7. K.J. Jefferson, QB, Arkansas

8. Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

9. Ryan O'Keefe, WR, UCF

10. Jake Haener, QB, Fresno State

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